Dragonfly species in Monmouthshire: Common Blue Damselfly

Distribution map of Common Blue Damselfly in Monmouthshire, March 2024
Distribution map of Common Blue Damselfly in Monmouthshire, March 2024, produced using the DMAP for Windows software written by Alan Morton, www.dmap.co.uk

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) is a common and widespread damselfly species in the county; it can be expected in any standing water habitat of reasonable size, and in slow-flowing riverine habitats too. Note that Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella) is the more common blue damselfly at smaller waterbodies, however; Common Blue Damselfly is typically found at larger and better sites.

The oldest record in our data set is from Magor, on an unspecified date in 1966 (observer P. C. Webb).

Current distribution in the county: what we know

There are many post-2019 records across the Gwent Levels, around Newport, in Torfaen, through the western valleys, and the northwest uplands, around Abergavenny, in the Usk valley, and with a wide scattering of records in the east of the county too, from Monmouth west to Raglan, south through the Wye valley to Tintern.

Current distribution in the county: what we don’t know

There are large gaps in the mapped distribution, however. As with many species, there are large areas in the north and east of the county with no records at all, or with only older records. This is almost certainly because no-one has visited sites in these areas recently to record dragonflies, rather than because the species is not present: there is much suitable habitat there.

There are areas on the Gwent Levels, particularly at the western and eastern ends, without recent records, whereas older records show it to have been found there: this is almost certainly not the true position and with more widespread recording, it is likely that the species will still be found widely across the Levels.

It is likely that Common Blue Damselfly is over-recorded, as inexperienced observers may have identified any blue damselflies as Common Blue Damselfly (a reasonable assumption given the name); visits to sites with records of Common Blue Damselfly but no records of Azure Damselfly are likely to show both (or in some cases only Azure) to be present.

Distribution elsewhere

Azure Damselfly is a common and widespread damselfly throughout Wales, England and Scotland, occurring as far north as the Shetlands. Elsewhere in Europe, it is found from Iberia east to Russia, north to the far north of Scandinavia, and south to Italy and the Balkans; it is also found in parts of North Africa and Turkey and its range extends east across Asia to the Pacific coast.